Julio Jones – No.1 WR in 2015?

Ross Miles makes the case for Julio Jones as the No.1 wideout in redraft formats for 2015.

| 1 year ago
Julio Jones

Julio Jones – No.1 WR in 2015?


Mock drafting is very much a part of the fantasy football fan’s offseason schedule, and here at PFF that’s no different for us either. We produce and publish an annual Fantasy Football Draft Guide, in which we feature a staff mock draft. Recently we participated in the July mock draft, and it marked the first time I didn’t select Julio Jones in Round 1, making him the No. 1 wide receiver.

In the May mock draft I had the 6th overall pick in the first round, while in the June mock I had the 4th overall slot. Both times my selection of Julio was seen as somewhat of a surprise, but I’m a great believer in sticking to my board and being bold on strategy. If I can’t get Le’Veon Bell or Adrian Peterson in the first round, my preference is to pick an elite wideout. On my board, Julio is No.1.

In the most recent edition of the mock (July), I held the 4th overall pick and used it on RB Eddie Lacy (over Julio). I went with Lacy because I have seen Julio slip a little in the second round and wanted to try a slightly different strategy as opposed to my approach to the first two mocks. It’s important to be flexible and able to change tact in a draft, so using mocks to practice different draft strategies is something I’d highly recommend if you are the kind of fantasy gamer who dips into mock drafts. I still hold to the belief that Julio Jones can be the No. 1 fantasy receiver this season however.

Lack of Clarity

There has been plenty of discussion in the fantasy community about who the top running back is – Bell is suspended for a few games to start the year, Peterson is over 30, DeMarco Murray and LeSean McCoy are on different teams with different expectations, Lacy gets rested during games, Arian Foster (groin) is going to miss between six weeks and six months depending on who you believe. Jamaal Charles has faced usage issues throughout his career and C.J. Anderson is a new kid on the block. I guess my point is that there is doubt about how the top running backs pan out this year.

It’s hard to confidently nail your flag to the mast of one of these guys. If you have a pick in the first half, or even the first two-thirds of Round 1, it puts you under pressure, as successful fantasy strategies such as Zero RB Theory have shown its possible to dominate your league by avoiding running backs early on draft day. With that in mind I took my highest-ranked receiver after having seen Peterson and Bell go 1.01 and 1.02 in both mocks in May and June, although as previously stated I went Lacy in July, with Bell (now 1.01 with his suspension reduced) taken over Peterson.

But why Julio Jones? I’m on somewhat of an island in my ranking of Jones as the top fantasy receiver heading into 2015, as of the 40-plus rankers currently being charted by FantasyPros, only five of us have Jones atop the pile.

The Rivals

There are five receivers who are dominating the rankings: Antonio Brown (last year’s No. 1 fantasy receiver), Dez Bryant (41 touchdowns in the last three seasons), Demaryius Thomas (minimum of 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of the last three years), Odell Beckham Jr. (1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games as a rookie) and Julio Jones. All are fantasy superstars, and there is very little to separate them. We’re looking at small margins and edges in order to differentiate between some of the very best playing the game today, and I’ve identified six areas that I want to look closer at in order to make the case for Jones in 2015, and they are:

  • Coordinator and scheme
  • Schedule
  • Playmaking
  • Catching
  • Efficiency
  • Previous production

Let’s not waste time and get stuck into some reasoning and statistics…

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Ross Miles is a Lead Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy. Follow him on Twitter – @RossMilesNFL
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Ross Miles is a lead fantasy writer on PFF Fantasy. He contributes IDP content to the site. He was the 2011 winner of the FantasyPros IDP Expert Rankings contest for both weekly in-season rankings and also for pre-season rankings and finished second in IDP rankings in 2012 and 2015. Ross is also a member of the FSWA.

  • Noah Kramer

    Love this article. I have been high on Julio ever since seeing his 1 handers at Bama. The dude is a monster. This brings it full circle. I had him at #2 but now have to go #1. If the top 5 backs are gone you bet I will be taking Julio

    • PFF_RossMiles

      Thanks Noah. It’s exceptionally tight between the top receivers, but a few of these stats jumped out and pushed me to rank Julio #1

      • Frank

        Question for ya? I’m high on Julio as well and I’m in a keeper league. I can keep two in 12-team PPR (I will lose my 1st two picks regardless). I’m keeping Bell and either Lynch or Julio…who would you prefer?

        • PFF_RossMiles

          Julio because he’s got more years left than Lynch. If you already have Bell as well, Julio seems a smarter choice.

          • Frank

            Thanks! That’s was what I was leaning towards.

    • PFF_RossMiles

      Indeed. I wanted to take him 1.03 last night in the latest PFF Staff Mock, but Bell was there…

      • Noah Kramer

        You think Bell and Big Ben will be affected by the loss of Pouncey? Or is Legursky good enough? I think they should bump down at least a spot or three on the ADP for bell and a round for Ben

  • Deej59

    I’m new here. I am obsessed with learning this stuff, so I currently pay for four sites. This is the best article I have read on any of them so far this year. I now have Julio #1. Your argument makes so much sense. Thanks for that.

    • PFF_RossMiles

      Thanks. I really appreciate that.